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Media Release 7 May 2020

The federal, state and territory agricultural ministers have moved to reassure and reiterate to Australians that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food.

It came as all the ministers met today for a regular meeting of agricultural ministers to discuss how the sector is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

The Federal Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud said it was a timely meeting given the concerns around the outbreak of the disease in a Victorian abattoir.

“There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by food which is a real comfort for us all and our agricultural sector.” Minister Littleproud said.

“That is the position of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other international food regulators.

The Victorian regulatory authority and the Federal Department of Agriculture does not intend to initiate a recall of any product produced at Cedar Meats as the products are safe.

The meeting heard that there was no animal welfare impact because the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services allowed the establishment to remain open to process or transfer all animals in holding yards.

“There was agreement by all state and territory ministers to convene a review of business continuity involving state agriculture, workplace health and safety, health officials and the meat industry.

“And the Commonwealth will be involved too, as it has responsibility around meat exports and certification.

“We will remain agile to the concerns and issues that arise out of COVID-19 to make sure that lives and livelihoods are saved.

“By working together we will get through this and we will make sure Australia’s food security remains among the best in the world.”